In case you were wondering about my name . . .
My father, the Senior Goodall, was named after Harold Lloyd, the legendary comedic actor.
I was named after my father, Harold Lloyd Goodall, hence the "Jr." Neither of my parents ever called me Harold, or Lloyd, certainly not Harold Lloyd. Nor did they call me Junior, for which I am still grateful. My mother said she had called me "Peanut" until my father, for some reason, started calling me "Buddy." Thereafter, I was Buddy for a long, long time. At least to my friends. When those friends asked how "Harold Lloyd" became "Buddy" I told them what my father had told me: that Buddy had been his best friend after the war, the one who pushed him in his wheelchair after he was shot up in a B-17G over Tours, France on August 1, 1944. It was a plausible tale, but, as it turns out, it was probably not true. Or at least I think it wasn't true. No one I interviewed for the book about my family (A Need to Know: The Clandestine History of a CIA Family) who had known him during that post WWII period remembered anyone named Buddy. Nor did they remember him talking about anyone named Buddy. Nor was my father in a wheelchair very long. No matter. I grew up as a Buddy, except for a brief period in London, England, where and when I was inexplicably called Barry. I never knew why. I just sensed, from that early age, that I never would fully own the rights to my name.
When I published my first book back in 1983 my editor, Louise Waller, told me that no one would ever buy a book by someone named Buddy Goodall. I had just written my doctoral dissertation on Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, so she rechristened me "H. Lloyd Goodall, Jr." It's an awful mouthful—arrogant, elitist, nothing at all like me—but I wanted so badly to become a published author I went along with it. It is the name that, for my sinful lack of objection, this 'nom d' hubris' still holds sway over my titles in the Library of Congress.
As an author I remained "Aitch Lloyd" for four books. It wasn't until 1989, when I published my first work of new ethnography (Casing a Promised Land: The Autobiography of an Organizational Detective as Cultural Ethnographer), that I shortened it to H. L. Goodall, Jr.. I figured I was due a symbolic rebirth. And H. L. Goodall, Jr., is pretty much what I've remained, if you discount the move among my friends from Buddy to Bud. That move was precipitated by my stint playing rhythm guitar for Whitedog and writing about it in Living in the Rock n Roll Mystery. I was introduced as "The doctor of rhythm, the doctor of style, give it up for our own Dr. Bud!" One thing led to another. By the time I toured the country with my Food Talk: A Man's Guide to Cooking and Conversation with Women in 1998 I had become H. L. (Bud) Goodall, Jr.
When I decided to make this website the "Jr." appendage to the body of my name just finally seemed extraneous. I am a man full grown. My father has been dead a long time, and there are no fixed rules in the U. S. for when a Jr. becomes a Sr. So I respectfully erased it. I liked the results. H. L. Goodall was again reborn. In America, as every writer knows, ours is a heritage of personal reinvention.
I still don't know if I truly own my name. A good friend of mine and fine fellow writer keeps calling me Hal. I've gotten mail recently for Hud Goodall. My friendly barista down at the local Starbucks can't seem to remember "Bud" so I've taken to calling myself Cricket.
Who knows what name I'll die with? My journey is not yet complete. Somewhere, Harold Lloyd is laughing silently aloud. My father and mother are probably with him, sharing their secrets. One of them may be about why they called me Buddy and who the original Buddy really was. If there was an original Buddy.
Shakespeare was right. I mean, he puts these words in Romeo's script "What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" but he doesn't mean it. Hence the deep irony that teaches us about star-crossed love. His tale is all about the power of names, about the conflict between Montegues and Capulets, that two people named Romeo and Juliet inherited. Had they been born with different names, this would not have been their story. And our world would be lesser for it.
So no, don't call me Hal. Or Aitch. Or Cricket. I am Harold Lloyd Goodall, Jr., a writer, a guy, now known only as H. L. Goodall.